No More Pity Party & DGA 5k Race Recap

So I realize that a lot of my most recent posts have been total downers.  Yes, I am still pretty lonely a lot of the time, but I’m not going to dwell in it any longer.  Whats more important, however, is that I am determined to do something about it.  I am going to make the best of these next few months and really work on putting myself out there beyond my comfort zone.

Thursday night I was already for another night in by myself while my crazy roommates went out with all their friends, but instead of changing into my pjs, I asked one of my roommates if she would mind if I went out with them and she of course said they wouldn’t.  I am very shy and self-conscious so it can be hard for me to put myself out there with a group of people I don’t really know… especially when all the girls are absolutely gorgeous!  It was a little uncomfortable being with a large group of close friends, but I tried not to let that show and just have fun.  Once we were out at the bars I spent talking to a few people I have had classes with in a bit and even ended up cute boy for a large portion of the night! It can be a bit awkward trying to explain to people what I’m still doing there at school but I’ve really been trying just to keep it as short and sweet as possible and usually just tell people “I loved our school too much to leave.”  So even though I didn’t spend a lot of the night with my roommates I ended up having a really good time and was really proud of myself for being able to hold my own.  After such a positive night out I really want to work on stopping the self-pity that I’ve been engaging in lately.  It is not productive and things will never change if I don’t put myself out there and just try.  I’m not promising rainbows and sunshine all the time, but I definitely want to recommit myself to focusing on the good things that are happening, instead of all the things that aren’t happening.

My Friday was low-key and therefore lonely, but I knew that’s the kind of night I needed in order to do my best in the Diane Geppi Aikens 5k I ran this morning.  I had a relaxing night, a good nights sleep, and woke up determined to rock the 5k!  As much as I love running it has been a really, really long time since I’ve run in an actual race.  Today totally restored my racing spirit!  I woke up around 6:30 and had my standard pre run meal: coffee, toast, pb, and some banana.  Luckily this race is part of a fundraiser for my school and starts on my campus so I didn’t have to go to far to check in 🙂  When I got to the race there were already a lot of people there, but most of the people participating in the race were entered as sports teams and had plenty of people to talk with before the start of the race.  I made my way over to the bleachers and was resolved to just sit by myself until it was time to line up, but luckily I was saved by one of the sweetest, most outgoing freshman girls I have met!  She did what I am unable to do.  She walked right up to me and asked if I was running alone as well and then proceeded to strike up a conversation.  She was such a sweetheart and was totally helpful in calming my nerves.

After hanging out for a bit the announcers had all us move to the starting line and get ready.  The race was  a little disorganized and when the gun went off people were a bit slow to recognize the fact that the race had started.  I had set myself up on the outer edge of the pack, sort of towards the front, but it did take a bit of time for me to officially start the race once the gun went off.  Luckily it didn’t take too long for the pack to thin out and I was able to get into my stride.  I was a bit nervous about how I to best pace myself during the race, however, since the second half of the race is almost entirely uphill.  I wanted to go all out for the first half, but I knew that I had to hold back a little or I would completely burn out at the end.  I hit the first mile mark at a little over 8 min and at that point I knew I could hold that pace for another mile and then push as hard as I could for that last mile/uphill climb.  Towards the end of the course my legs were absolutely burning from the hills, but I tried to keep pushing as hard as I could and when I saw the finish line I sprinted as fast as I could just so it could all be over!

I don’t have my official time yet but I think I finished the race right around 25 min!  It has been so long since I have run in a race that I am considering this a PR and couldn’t have been happier with my performance considering how tough the course was.   Participating in this race has already made me feel 100x better about running the half marathon in October, and I’ve even been looking up additional races to complete afterwards!!! Looks like I’ve been bitten by the racing bug 🙂

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Doing Right By Me

Yesterday I had the option of waking up early before work/class to go on my run or wait until my break in the afternoon around 4.  Naturally I chose to sleep in for an extra hour and tackle my 5 mile run in the afternoon.  As the day went on I began to get anxious about how this run would actually go.  For starters it was a little warmer than I had expected it to be, but that wasn’t really what was making me worried as I knew that a little extra sweat never hurt anyone.  No, what I was really worried about was how much I had eaten that day.  I had my favorite cereal combination for breakfast, a small mid morning snack, a few bites of some treats as I walked through my school’s service fair looking for volunteer opportunities, and then the kicker a really filling/dense lunch about an hour and a half before it was time for me to run.  I was so nervous that this would sit like a rock in my stomach and I definitely took my time getting ready to leave.  Eventually I decided it was now or never and that I should just get out there and see what happens and listen to my body if it’s just not gonna happen.  I also decided to do this run without an ipod to remove time pressures and just enjoy the experience of running.

To my complete surprise I had an absolutely amazing run!  My body felt so strong and it was nice to unplug and just be in the moment.  I was able to soak in my surroundings and it was a comfort to know that I didn’t need the musical distraction or input to keep my pace up.  When I started to notice how incredible my legs felt during this run I immediately looked for reasons to explain it.  The only credible thing I can come up with, is the thing that almost stopped me from running completely.  My food intake for the day was not extreme like I had originally thought, it was actually the opposite.  I actually fueled my body properly and it felt amazing!  When I compare the disaster that was Monday morning’s 6 miles (on no pre-run fuel) to yesterday’s 5 miles with an adequate calorie intake before running, I now know what I need to do differently.  I am now making a more concerted effort to step up my fueling and nutrition so that I can perform in a way that leaves me feeling strong and confident!  So far I’m off to a good start.  I am not promising a full 180 over night, but I definitely am making little tweaks here and there.  Ahhh! gotta run to my night class but stay tuned for more updates!

Mentally and Physically Trying.

Today has been difficult both mentally and physically.  I am still really struggling with feelings of boredom and loneliness while back at school.  Luckily this weekend I was able to see some of my friends on Friday, who now have “real lives” and work in Baltimore, and on Saturday I was able to go down to DC for the night and visit more friends.  As fun as those night were, they really reinforced my loneliness during the week at school.  It was really hard to go from being surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world, to walking through campus a lone and sitting a lone in my room.  It looks like I’ll have to adopt the “living for the weekends” mentality since I seem to have few other social interactions during the week.  Hopefully one positive thing that comes out of this will be a high final GPA 🙂

I think another reason why my emotional state was a tad less than stellar would probably be due to my very, very difficult 6 mile run this morning.  After shuffling around my training plan to accommodate hang overs, seeing friends, class, work, and weather, it looked like today would be the perfect day for one of my longer training runs.  Luckily Mondays are a little less busy than all other days in my week, but after yesterdays hard 5 miles (got a tad lost and ran an extra mile) I was a little skeptical of how this run was going to go.  I thought the run yesterday I went on was full of tough hills, but the route I took today was way more extreme.  As much as I love the more active running community I am surrounded by in Baltimore, I definitely miss the relatively flat routes I got to run all summer.  I have not yet adjusted to these steep climbs and my legs are really feeling the burn.  Throughout my run I thought about cutting a mile off of my planned route, but I kept trying to remind myself that this race is coming whether I am ready or not and in the end I will only be cheating myself.  I probably took more walking breaks on this run that I have in a while, and there was one point on a significant climb that I stopped and almost started to cry because I was so overwhelmed by it.  After composing myself and my thoughts, I started to run again determined to keep my mind in the positive.  I vowed to listen to my body and take walk breaks if needed, but I was going to finish the 6 miles I had planned.  I even began saying “go Ali” and “you got this” out loud to myself.  Regardless of how crazy I may have looked, reassuring myself out loud really helped me push through, and in the end I ended up finishing the 6 miles in under 43 minutes.  The fact that I still maintained under 9 min miles overall, even with the hills and walking breaks, was extremely shocking to me.  I really did not believe I was maintaining a consistent enough pace, but this just goes to show I need to have more faith in my running performance.  In the past I have tried to not look at my stopwatch on my Ipod (except to pause it when I have to wait to cross the street)while I am running because I don’t want to feel pressured, but maybe I should check the timer a little bit more often to help dispel the negative thoughts about my performance.   As hard as this run was, I definitely learned a lot from it, namely that I need to be easier on myself and cannot expect to perform the same way on every run.  Luckily tomorrow just calls for an easy 3 miles that I will most likely just bang out on the treadmill in between classes in an effort to avoid the dreaded hills 🙂

In My Head

Running is probably my favorite time to do some serious thinking.  I find that it is the perfect amount of time to mull over a topic in my head, without becoming obsessive, and it also takes my mind off of the distance I have left.  What I think about varies from run to run, and I tend to bounce around to several different topics throughout the run, but today my thoughts were spent solely on one thing.  No matter how hard I tried to fight it, all I could think about was how I am back at school without any of my friends and how much I don’t like it.  As I mentioned in my previous post, when I walk through campus I am alone and really notice it.  I know there is an awkward transition time that everyone has when going to school, but that usually happens during freshman year and not your last.  I am even less used to this feeling because I met 2 of my best friends in the entire world the first night of school and we were together from there on out.

The girls I’m living with are really nice, but we seem to have different priorities.  This semester is going to be really intense for me and I definitely cannot go out every night as they have this week.  I also know that I have to watch my alcohol consumption, given my family’s history with alcohol use.  I haven’t talked about this before on the blog but both of my parents abuse alcohol in different ways.  My dad is a binge drinker, but does not drink every night, where as my mom drinks at least 1/2 a bottle of wine every night.  I spent a lot of time with my therapist over the summer reflecting on my own relationship with alcohol and have pledged to set my limit to 3 drinks per night, appropriate for my size etc., and that I only want to go out max 2 nights a week.  Well these girls go way beyond my comfort zone in both amount of drinks and frequency of consumption.  It further complicates things that when they go out they sleep at their friend’s house off campus. My days start at least 2 hours earlier than theirs do, however, so sleeping out is quite difficult for me, and to be honest sleeping at someone’s house who I don’t know is not something I am completely comfortable with.  These factors have led me to be home alone for a few nights this week already.

The way I’m feeling right now scares me for a couple of reasons.  First of all I know that in the past, when I’ve felt isolated I have become very depressed and slipped further and further into my disease.  I am also starting to wonder if I can handle moving away to grad school hundreds of miles away from home completely on my own.  I do not plan on living alone in any of the cities that I could potentially move to, but still the reality of how it will be to know no one is becoming a scary reality.  I hope, however, that the fact that I am thinking about this now and am aware of my potential fears will some how motivate me to go out there and meet some new people.  As hard and awkward as it may be I know the dangers of not trying to get out there.  Thankfully this weekend I have the chance to  visit some of my college friends who are either studying or working in DC, and I hope they will give me the boost I need to get out there and change this situation.   Work and half marathon training will only last as a distraction for so long and are not acceptable replacements for real human connection.

Any tips for getting out there and meeting people?

Gone for A Bit

Sorry for pulling a disappearing act these past few days.  I moved back down to school for my final semester of undergrad, and it has been really hectic getting everything organized for class and trying to get to know the girls I am living with this year.  Since I am a semester behind and all of my friends have already graduated I am spending the semester living with girls I have never met before in my life.  Needless to say, I was a bit worried about this.  The entire drive down to school I was stressing about what the girls would be like, if they would like me, and how much I should tell them about my past and reasons for being behind in school.  I am happy to report, however, that the roommates turned out to be so much fun!  Definitely girls I can live and party with for the next few months.  With that being said, I feel extremely alone while out on campus.  I am so used to walking to class with a group of friends and seeing people I know all around, but everything is so different now.  I never realized how few people from outside my own grade I actually know.  Hopefully as the semester progresses I will meet more people through my roommates and classes and the awkward/alone feeling will go away.

That’s if I have time to go out with all the work I have coming my way this semester.  I am taking 6 classes in order to finish in one semester, and none of them are going to be an “easy a”.  I am trying to not stress out too much just yet and get my self psyched out before it even happens, but at the same time I know I need to stay on top of my work if I want to do well.

In addition to trying to manage my time for class I am also right back into half marathon training.  It feels so good to be running again on my old routes and back at my gorgeous school gym!  Today was especially great because for the first time since getting my wisdom teeth removed I felt like my old self.

Time to hit the books for a bit, and then go to bed so I can get up early to run before my 12 hour day of class and work 🙂

Well I Did It

Yesterday I woke for the first time all week without mouth pain being the first thing I was aware of.  This break from the pain meant that I could probably resume running and training for my half marathon.   The funny thing is, as much as I’ve been dying to go running again, I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it.  After a whole week with no exercise/minimum moving I was so nervous that all of my endurance would have disappeared and that the 3 miles I was once able to do with ease would be impossible.  I was in such a good rhythm with my running before the surgery and I wasn’t sure how I would mentally be able to handle no running very well.  Regardless of my fears and anxiety I set out bright and early on my favorite 3 mile course.  And it sucked.  The first 1/2 mile things were going well and my legs weren’t struggling but slowly I became more aware of the humidity and moving my legs just wasn’t as easy.   Negative thoughts about my body and my abilities flooded into my mind the minute things got difficult.  But I didn’t give into them.  Instead I blasted my favorite pump up music and tried to counter act each negative thought with the more positive reality.  I reminded myself that I just had surgery and should not expect to be at 100%.  I also kept telling myself that every run is different and it took me time to build up my endurance the last time around and I can/will do it again.  I stopped looking at the stopwatch on my Ipod and kept going as hard as I could, determined to push through til the end.  When I finally got back home I looked at the time and it said 26 minutes.  Around 3 minutes slower than my usual finishing time.  Instead of being really upset about this, however, I looked at myself in the mirror, absolutely drenched with sweat, and told myself how awesome I was.  Yes, I know talking to yourself in the mirror might be a little crazy/narcissistic but I really wanted to drive home the message that I should be proud of myself for just getting out there again despite the anxiety I had about my performance.  Today I am going to try to tackle 4 miles and will continue to tell myself positive statements whenever my self-doubt shows its ugly little self.

6

6 is my favorite number.  As of tomorrow it will be 6 days since I have done any sort of exercise.  I wish that I could say that I love the number 6 in this case as I usually would in any other, but honestly, I am not handling it as well as I should have.  All I want to do is get up and run but the throbbing pain in my head is making that impossible.  I know that my body needs this time for rest and even if I wanted to work out I know that I haven’t been taking in adequate nutrition in order to have an effective workout. Despite all of this knowledge I find myself with stronger urges to restrict than I normally do.  I have been able to fight away most of the evil messages that pop into my head, but I still feel uncomfortable just sitting around.    Limitations frustrate me to no end and I clearly have a very hard time admitting to myself when I am not doing well.  Luckily I am not on my own during this time.  My family has tried to be supportive over the past few days, but sometimes there intentions are not always carried out in the best manner. Thanks to a very uncomfortable situation with my mom it has been determined that my weight has not really changed as a result of my surgery, and that I am managing to still take care of my body as best I can.

My plan is to have one more rest day tomorrow and then try for an easy 2-3 mile run on Friday.  I had my first real dinner tonight and I promised myself that I would need to have as close to a full day of real meals in order to start working out again.  Hopefully I will be able to consume something with structure tomorrow and my body will be healed enough for a light run on Friday.  With my half marathon less than 2 months away I really need to make sure I have enough endurance and training runs so that my body is prepared for the event.

sorry for such a downer post.  just not really feeling it these past few days.